Skip to content

Marine Conservation Institute Awards Seven Blue Parks Global Ocean Refuge Status for the Most Effective Conservation of Marine Life

[Bali, Indonesia]  Today at the 2018 Our Ocean Conference, where representatives from about one hundred nations around the world and hundreds of marine conservationists are gathered, Marine Conservation Institute announced that seven new blue parks have been selected to receive its Global Ocean Refuge System Award. The newest members of the Global Ocean Refuge System (GLORES, pronounced “glories”) all meet the highest science-based standards for biodiversity protection and best practices for management and enforcement. These strong marine protected areas and no-take reserves will make an outstanding contribution to saving marine life for future generations.

Marine Conservation Institute awards Global Ocean Refuge status to marine protected areas (MPAs) for actively safeguarding the world’s most valuable and biodiverse ocean habitats, sustaining marine biodiversity and increasing populations of marine life. Marine Conservation Institute’s objective for the award is to bring special recognition to nations, decision makers and site managers who effectively protect their marine ecosystems and to incentivize better ocean protection worldwide. Our hope is that this network grows and inspires nations around the world to strongly protect 30% of the ocean’s most important places by 2030.

“In 2018, we are adding seven new blue parks to the Global Ocean Refuge System, covering an additional 3,243.6 square kilometers (1252.4 square miles) of ocean. Each one has a strong management team, a clear plan to conserve biodiversity, and effective monitoring and enforcement efforts in place. Each Global Ocean Refuge supports healthy oceans, sequesters carbon, contributes to its local economy and brings us closer to the global goal of protecting 30% of the ocean by 2030,” says Sarah Hameed, Director of the Global Ocean Refuge System and Senior Scientist at Marine Conservation Institute. Hameed continued, “We are extremely proud of our Global Ocean Refuges and their management teams for the work they do.”


2018 Winners of the Global Ocean Refuge System Award

MPA Country Total Area (km²) Award Level
Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park The Bahamas 455.8 Platinum
Cape Rodney–Okakari Point Marine Reserve New Zealand 5.47 Gold
Cerbère-Banyuls Natural Marine Reserve France 6.5 Silver
Chumbe Island Coral Reef Sanctuary Tanzania 0.7 Gold
Wilsons Promontory Marine National Park Australia 221 Platinum
Misool Private Marine Reserve Indonesia 1220 Platinum
Ilhas Selvagens Portugal 1,334.30 Gold
Total area added 3,243.6


These seven awards bring the total number of Global Ocean Refuge Award winners to ten. The award celebrates excellence in marine conservation just as the Oscars™ do for movies or Olympic medals do for sports.

“To understand the importance of these new blue parks in the Global Ocean Refuge System, it is critical to understand that many of today’s MPAs do not protect ocean ecosystems very well; they have loose or no rules and weak or nonexistent management,” said Lance Morgan, President of Marine Conservation Institute. Morgan continued, “Sometimes called ‘paper parks’, they appear in lists of MPAs and are officially counted as MPAs but lack substance. Joining the Global Ocean Refuge System requires achieving a science-based standard that we know protects the oceans for generations to come. By recognizing, valuing, and visiting these blue parks, we encourage more countries to meet this critical standard going forward.”


About the Global Ocean Refuge System Awards

Marine Conservation Institute launched the Global Ocean Refuge System to safeguard marine wildlife, secure critical habitats, and protect ocean health for future generations. In 2017, the first three Platinum-level Global Ocean Refuges were awarded: Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, Malpelo Fauna, and Flora Sanctuary, and Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park. Another seven Global Ocean Refuge Awards were announced at the 2018 Our Ocean Conference, as per this press release.


About Marine Conservation Institute

Marine Conservation Institute is a team of highly-experienced marine scientists and environmental policy advocates dedicated to saving ocean life for us and future generations. The organization’s goal is to help create an urgently-needed worldwide system of strongly protected areas—the Global Ocean Refuge System (GLORES)—as a strategic way to ensure the future diversity and abundance of marine life. To enhance marine protection efforts around the globe, Marine Conservation Institute also built the world’s most comprehensive online marine protected area database, the Marine Protection Atlas.



Marine Conservation Institute Contacts

Dr. Sarah Hameed, Director of the Global Ocean Refuge System (attending Our Ocean)

WhatsApp Phone: +1 707 570 7843



Lance Morgan, President of Marine Conservation Institute (attending Our Ocean)

WhatsApp Phone: +1 707 217 8242



MPAs receiving Global Ocean Refuge Awards Contacts

Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park

Lynn Gape, Deputy Executive Director, The Bahamas National Trust

Phone: 242-393-1317



Cape Rodney–Okakari Point Marine Reserve

Nick Hirst, Communications Advisor, Department of Conservation, New Zealand

Phone: 09 307 4866 / 027 704 7773



Cerbère-Banyuls Natural Marine Reserve

Frédéric Cadene, manager of Réserve Naturelle Marine de Cerbère-Banyuls


Email: frederic.cadene@cd66.frf


Chumbe Island Coral Reef Sanctuary

Sibylle Riedmiller, Director, Chumbe Island Coral Park Ltd.

Eleanor Carter, Alt. Director, Chumbe Island Coral Park Ltd.

WhatsApp Phone: +62 (0) 813 3842 5552

Phone: +255-(0)652-304655



Wilsons Promontory Marine National Park

Stephanie Zilles, Communications Advisor, Parks Victoria

Phone: 0498 007 891



Misool Private Marine Reserve

Jo Marlow, Marketing & Communications for Misool Eco-Resort & Foundation

WhatsApp Phone: +6281266598338



Ilhas Selvagens

Video of Madeira President Miguel Albuquerque sharing his thoughts on Ilhas Selvagens earning a GLORES Award

Paulo Oliveria, Board Member, Ilhas Selvagens,

Phone: (+351) 291740060



Article About Impacts of MPAs on Ocean Ecosystems

No-take marine reserves are the most effective protected areas in the ocean,” by Enric Sala and Sylvaine Giakoumi in ICES Journal of Marine Science (2017)



  1. […] were thrilled to announce the Global Ocean Refuge Award winners at Our Ocean 2018. Today, ten blue parks around the world have earned our Global Ocean Refuge […]

  2. […] Author: Marine Conservation Institute / Source: Marine Conservation Institute […]

  3. Giving Thanks | On the Tide on November 20, 2018 at 10:28 am

    […] support enabled us to announce that 7 new blue parks earned Global Ocean Refuge Awards at the Our Ocean Conference in Indonesia. Each of these stellar marine protected areas (MPAs) meets […]